How to sew a skirt–pressing templates

by SaraD on June 30, 2011

Pressing template used for pressing waistband facing.

Oak tag makes a great pressing template for hems and facings.

Rayon makes a wonderfully drapey skirt, but how do you keep it from “drifting” when you press a fold or hem? I discovered a relatively simple way to keep the fabric in place by making a pressing template out of oak tag. It makes it so much easier to press a nice, straight crease.

I got this idea from Marcy Tilton’s book Easy Guide To Sewing Tops & T-Shirts. Oak tag is a heavy weight paper board, like a manila file folder, but thicker and holds up better.  You can find it by the yard (48” width) at Sew True or in packs of 12” x 18” sheets at Kaplan. I tried looking at sewing and office supply stores locally, but never found it. Let me know if you do.

For the pressing template, I cut a strip of the oak tag 4” wide and drew lines where I needed them – at 2” and 1.5”. Then I laid the pressing template on the waistband facing with the edge of the template at the fold line and folded up the waistband facing so the raw edge met the 2” line. To keep the fabric from drifting, I anchored it to my pressing board with straight pins. A few passes with the iron and I had a crisp, straight crease for my waistband facing.

Close up of pressing template and waistband facing.

I shifted the facing slightly so you can see the marking lines and the fold.

I used the same technique to press the hem, using the 1.5” mark on the pressing template. It worked great! My hemline was nice and straight and even.

The oak tag is thick enough so it doesn’t bend with the fabric and thin enough to make a nice crisp crease. The steam from the iron does tend to make the oak tag curl slightly. But I just store the template flat and it’s ready for next time.

You can also use oak tag to create a curved pressing template for a shirttail hem or give your t-shirts a slightly curved hem that can be quite flattering. Just cut out the oak tag to the shape you want, draw a marking line for the hem depth, and voilá! You have an easy way to press those pesky curves.


Lyn July 1, 2011 at 7:40 am

Tnx for the oak tag suggestion. I made some simple curtains (lots of light-weight yardage) , and used tablet backing for a template. It worked but wasn’t easy to handle.

Chyna July 17, 2011 at 6:09 pm

Thank you so much for this aitrlce, it saved me time!

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